Archive for February, 2012

Day 74…1 Corinthians 9:1-6

I Corinthians 9:1-6: Paul’s apostleship

Paul takes a few verses here in chapter 9 to defend his apostleship and his freedom to exercise or not to exercise his rights as a apostle in Christ.

v.1-2, Unfortunately there were some people in Corinth that doubted they should listen to Paul so he presents his credentials as an “apostle.”

In order to be an apostle you had to show 3 evidences:

  1. “Have I not seen Jesus with my own eyes?” Personally seen Jesus after his resurrection. [Paul saw Jesus in Acts 9:3-18]
  2. Signs, wonders and mighty acts. [Paul did so in Acts 13:9-12]
  3. “Isn’t because of my work that you belong to the Lord?…you yourselves are proof that I am the Lord’s apostle.” Successful ministry. [Paul had described his work  among the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 3:5-7 & Acts 18:1-17]

These credentials make the advice Paul gives in this letter authority. Paul goes into even greater detail of his apostleship in 2 Corinthians 10-13.

v.3-5, “This is my answer to those who question my authority.” Those who were questioning Paul’s authority brought up the issue that Paul wasn’t taking advantage of everything he could do as an apostle and thus were questioning whether he was an apostle at all. As an apostle in the Greco-Roman world, it was quite an issue how missionaries, traveling teachers and philosophers were supported. They could charge, beg, work or accept gifts. Paul accepted support from Lydia in Acts 16, but since then had stopped that practice. However because other leaders continued to accept support, the issue arose: maybe Paul was not getting support anymore because he wasn’t really an apostle. But the truth was Paul chose to not take the support so as not to bring the gospel under suspicion. Then Paul names some rights that accompany being an apostle: “Don’t we have the right to live in your homes and share your meals?” which is the right be financially supported by the church–a place to stay and meals. “Don’t we have the right to bring a Christian wife with us as the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers do, and as Peter does?” which is the right to marry, and if Paul had a wife like many others he mentions, to take her with him and also to be supported by the church.

v.6, “Or is it only Barnabas and I who have to work to support ourselves?” Barnabas and Paul worked together on Paul’s first missionary journey but just before Paul started his second the two parted ways and Barnabas started his own missionary journey. Paul mentions Barnabas here because they were the only apostles who made it a habit to work and earn their living as they travelled and spread the Gospel.

Paul chose to work as a tentmaker (Acts 18:3) and not receive support from the Corinthian believers because it could hinder his work for the Gospel.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Paul used himself as an example of giving up personal rights. He had the right to be married and to receive financial support for his work, but he willingly gave up these rights to win people to Christ. When I focus on living for Christ my right should become unimportant.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  I was thinking about the rights I have as a believer and even as a citizen of Canada. The question I have been thinking about is…would I be willing to give them up for the furtherance of the Gospel?

February 28, 2012 at 10:41 AM 3 comments

Brushing our teeth

Before bed the kids would brush their teeth, or least they would try. Most of the time they just sucked the toothpaste off the brush. Yuck!

Well, the past few months I have been trying to teach both Faith and Shawn how to really brush their teeth. So sometime during the session I would take their brush and show them in the mirror how to brush their teeth. I would say things like “do you hear that sound? That’s why they call it brushing.” Or “open your mouth wide” so I could brush the tops of the teeth, then “put your teeth together” so I could do the fronts. I even taught them how to brush their tongues. Both kids laugh when I do it.

Tonight I was brushing Faith’s teeth and Faith said “I want to do it!” So I gave over her toothbrush and she proceeded to do to me what I had been doing to her these past few months. She said “Daddy, open your mouth” so I did and she said “wider Daddy” I couldn’t help but laugh. Then she started to brush my teeth. Then she said “put your teeth together like this” as she showed me. It was so cute. Then she said “all done, you look so pretty!”

De-Ann was there to witness the whole thing and we both looked at each other and said “too bad we didn’t have our phones on us.”

February 25, 2012 at 8:43 PM 8 comments

Laundry with Shawn

Shawn was helping me with the laundry this afternoon. He helped take the clothes from the washer to the dryer. Then out of the dryer into a laundry basket so we could fold them up.

While taking the clothes out of the dryer Shawn would name the person the item belonged to. Like he would say “Faith” as he pulled one of her shirts, then “Mommy” when he took out her jeans. He could even tell the difference between my socks and De-Ann’s and they were both black. Impressive.

The best part was when he took out one of his shirts, socks or pants he would say his name and then hold onto each item until he had a pile of clothes in his arms.

I can see him taking over the laundry duties from me soon. At least I’m hoping.

February 25, 2012 at 8:26 PM 9 comments

Sherwin ultra soft

You know it’s ultra soft when Sherwin sleeps on it.

20120225-141455.jpg

February 25, 2012 at 2:15 PM 2 comments

Movie day

The kids are at daycare, De-Ann’s at work and it’s my day off.

The fires going and my best bud (my cat Sherwin) is sitting here beside me, and I am settling in to have a movie day. Just the two of us. Catching up on all the movies I haven’t seen yet.

Looking forward to a relaxing day after a number of very busy days and weeks, for that matter.

February 24, 2012 at 9:35 AM 6 comments

Counting buses

Faith & Shawn have started a new game on our way to daycare each morning, counting school buses. On Tuesday morning when we started the game, Faith counted 9, then yesterday she counted 15 (not to mention the 4 she missed that I saw).

As you can probably imagine the kids were overjoyed at how many school buses they got to see. Shawn would say “lellow” after Faith counted another bus. It’s amazing what keeps my kids entertained.

February 23, 2012 at 4:42 PM 16 comments

Day 73…1 Corinthians 8:4-13

I Corinthians 8:4-13: Meat offered to idols

These verses are a continuation in answering a question the Corinthians were concerned about: should we eat meat offered to idols?

v.4-6, Paul sets the stage by stating what the Corinthian believers already knew: “an idol is not really a god” meaning that they have no power, they were just hunks of wood or metal and they had no ability to curse or bless. These idols represented many “so-called gods” or nonexistent gods, that people worshipped and believed to be “both in heaven and earth.” But “we know there is only one Godthe Father, who created everything” even the hunks of wood or metal these idols were made of. Those who believe in God, the Father “live for him” which means they live to give him glory and honour with their lives. “And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life” to say that God and Jesus are one and through them the world was created, sustained and given eternal life because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

v.7, Now Paul goes onto to address the question at hand by reminder all believers “not all believers know this” meaning unfortunately not all believers realized or are convinced that other gods don’t exist. Sure they believe in the all-powerful God of the Christian faith, they are still “accustomed to thinking of idols as being real.” So when they eat meat offered to idols as a religious ceremony, they cannot separate the meat itself from the ceremony “they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated.” The “weak consciences” referred to new converts who were not clear if the eating of this meat was wrong or right because of the past religious connotations. Before they were believers, eating meat was part of worship to false gods and when they saw other believers eating meat offered to idols (exercising their freedom to do so), they felt compelled to also eat, so in eating they felt guilting that they were violating their conscience and in turn believed they were sinning against God.

v.8-9, Paul gives the first of three reasons for voluntarily abstaining from idol meat in the presence of those unable to handle the practice. Paul says “it’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t loose anything if we don’t eat, and we don’t gain anything if we do.” He says it is a morally neutral issue, there is no advantage in eating the meat or disadvantage in not, therefore concern for a weaker believer should take precedence. This reflects back to v.1-3 where Paul tells us love, not knowledge, must decide our course of action. Paul says believers should “be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.” The “stronger” believer is being told to not exercise their “freedom” or right in ways that will cause fellow believers to “fall” or “stumble” into sin.

v.10, Paul gives an example of what might happen if a stronger believer exercises his freedom in front of a weaker believer. Weak believers who think it is wrong to eat meat offered to idols will “be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol” because they see a stronger believers who has “superior knowledge”— knows there is nothing wrong with eating such meat “eating in the temple of an idol.” [Side note: this occurrence was not uncommon because most social and cultural events happened in the temples]. Even though the strong believer was eating lawfully either in temple without religious ritual, the weak could not do so because he or she didn’t know if it was right or wrong, to them that eating was sin. This principle Paul also wrote about in

Romans 14:23 “But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.”

v.11, Paul gives the second reasons for voluntarily abstaining. Flaunting one’s freedom was damaging to the spiritual lives of the weak. “A weak believer…will be destroyed” the word destroyed is better translated “the process of being ruined” because Paul is not saying a Christian can loose their salvation, but he was saying the stronger believers actions as an obstacle to the weaker believers spiritual growth.

v.12, Paul gives the third reasons for voluntarily abstaining: to avoid “sinning against Christ.”  If the stronger believer was insensitive to the weaker believer “by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong” then they would being sinning against that believer, to do also would be sinning against Christ himself.

v.13, Paul finishes off the chapter by following his own advice, saying that if “what [he] eats causes another believer to sin, [he] will never eat meat again as long as [he lives]” because he doesn’t want “to cause another believer to stumble.” Strong believers should be willing to restrict their freedoms for the sake of weak believers.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? It is easier to live by the Word of God because it is clear what is wrong but what about things Scripture doesn’t speak of? I believe Paul is telling us to follow our conscience or more importantly the Holy Spirit. To go against a conviction we have will leave me with a guilty feeling or uneasy conscience, that when I should steer clear of that activity because I don’t want another believer to fall into sin because of something that is gray or neutral in my life.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  I always think about serving alcohol to an alcoholic example when I think about causing a weaker believer to stumble, but I think God is talking to me about other areas of my life. I need to steer clear of those things that not only cause other to stumble also myself.

I know what they are for me. What is it for you?

February 22, 2012 at 2:56 PM Leave a comment

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